Enforcement and Inspection

As today’s workplace becomes more complex, regulation of that workplace increases. In this section, you’ll find the practical advice you need to understand exactly what OSHA, other federal agencies, and their state counterparts, require of you, and to comply in the ways that best satisfy both your and their needs. Look also for important court decisions, advice on how to handle enforcement actions, and news of upcoming changes in workplace health and safety law.

Free Special Report: What to Expect from an OSHA Inspection

Now Harley-Davidson Settles Defeat-Device Allegation

Following the $14.7 billion penalty leveled against Volkswagen®, EPA’s $12 million settlement with Harley-Davidson, Inc., over the company’s alleged sale of illegal defeat devices for use on its motorcycles, is a significant enforcement action that highlights the government’s militant stance against vehicle manufacturers it asserts are violating the Clean Air Act (CAA).


Report Identifies Serious Concerns at California Refinery

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released its final report into multiple chemical releases at the Tesoro Refinery in Martinez, California. Get details here, including revealing findings about safety culture.


OSHA Launches Expedited Whistleblower Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is launching a new pilot process in its Western region. The “Expedited Case Processing Pilot” allows a complainant covered by certain statutes to ask OSHA to cease its investigation and issue findings for the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges to consider.


OSHA: Actions of Auto Parts Company Must Come to a Screeching Halt

OSHA’s inspection of an Auburn, Alabama, automobile parts manufacturer concluded that both permanent and temporary employees faced serious danger. Keep reading to find out what action the agency took, and why you need to be vigilant about protecting temporary workers.


EHS on Tap: Paying the Price with OSHA’s New Penalties

For the first time in 25 years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is increasing its penalty amounts. Employers could face civil penalties 78 percent greater than before. In an effort to boost compliance and deter safety violations, employers must demonstrate their commitment to safety… or pay the price.


OSHA Calls on Philadelphia Construction Companies to Prevent Falls

A spate of fall incidents in the greater Philadelphia area prompted OSHA to call on the region’s construction companies to ensure that their employees have and use proper equipment when required to protect them from work-related falls.


California Appeals Board: Was Workers’ Exposure Willful?

What’s your procedure for handling workers’ complaints about health symptoms?

Some health symptoms are “nonspecific,” meaning they can have more than one possible cause. A headache, for example, can result from exposure to hazardous airborne chemicals—or the worker could be coming down with a cold or might have skipped lunch. It’s important to carefully investigate any symptoms your workers report, especially if you get multiple reports from multiple employees.


Reminder: OSHA Penalties Are Headed Up—Way Up—Started Next Month

For the first time since 1990, OSHA is adjusting civil penalty amounts. Keep reading to find out how high the penalties will go, and how soon you need to be ready.


Initial Penalty Settlement for VW

Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed with the EPA, the state of California, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to an initial penalty settlement for alleged violations of federal and state laws following disclosures that the company installed emissions defeat devices in nearly 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States between 2009 and 2015. In monetary terms, the company must pay up to $14.7 billion, with about $10 billion of that total directed toward compensating the purchasers of vehicles that did not meet on-road nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions standards. The remainder is to be used to mitigate the pollution from these cars and advance California’s green vehicle technology.


Court Decisions Lower Bar for OSHA to Prove Willful Violations

By Micheal D. Hahn

Recent decisions from the 7th Circuit—which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin—have drastically lowered the burden required for OSHA to prove willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).